Daily Archives: September 27, 2002

The Unwelcome Mat

“I certainly do not deserve an entry visa any more than the aging mother hoping to visit her children in the U.S. perhaps for the last time in her life … For my part, I feel this decision is somehow what I deserve.”

So says Abbas Kirostami, one of the world’s greatest filmmakers, on learning that his application for a visa to attend the New York Film Festival where his latest film Ten is to be screened, and later to speak at Harvard university, had been denied. Why? Because he is Iranian.

62 years of age, Kirostami’s works include the 1997 Cannes Film Festival Palme D’Or winner Taste of Cherry, the AIDS documentary ABC Africa, and the unique and moving fictional recreation of a real event, Close-Up.

“It wasn’t that they could not make an exception, New York Film Festival spokeswoman Ines Aslan remarked, It was that they did not choose to.”

Naturally.

Why should they?

Might makes right.